I’d just finished exercising after work, and the door bell rang. I was sweaty, but I decided I really didn’t care who saw me in my Jane Fonda outfit. I pulled open the front door. A tall guy in a hoodie stood in the darkening dusk, his face in shadow.
“I am death,” he said.
“Yeah, and I’m the Queen of Sheba,” I replied, waiting for the punchline.
He showed me his skeletal hand, as if to offer his credentials.
I wiped the sweat off my forehead and licked my lips. “Okay.” I paused. “I was just about to have a scotch. You want one?”
“Yes, I was hoping you’d ask,” he said. “It’s always easier if folks are relaxed when I come for them.”
“Wait,” I said, “you must have made some mistake. I’m nowhere near ready for death. My husband and I have agreed that we must have a discussion with the kids, and we fully intend to do that, but we have plenty of time, don’t we?”
“We’re getting on in years, and neither one of us is afraid of death. In fact, we often talk about it, especially after an article in some newspaper or magazine about dying,” I said.
Death said, “it’s good that you don’t fear me, but that doesn’t help your children deal with their loss when I take you.”
“May I ask for just a few days, that is if you really are sure it’s my time?” I said. “I must prepare my family for this, and get a few affairs in order?”
“No, I’m afraid not,” said Death. “However, you may ask me for one thing, but it cannot be delaying our departure.”
“I know what I’d like, if you think you can arrange it,” I said. “I don’t want to die alone. Can you arrange for a loved one to be here with me?”
“Yes, I think I can make that happen,” said Death. “Now, why don’t we have another scotch?”